Buss, 53, is engaged to Phil Jackson, who in March was named president of the Knicks.
Jackson relocated from their Playa del Rey, Calif., home to a .85 million apartment on West 57th Street.
“It was a little bit awkward during that time period, but I’ll tell you that Carmelo is a player that’s worth fighting for,” Buss said during an appearance on ESPN. 1 to me, so I’ll do it again.” Awkwardness is nothing new for the couple, whose courtship began in December 1999 while Jackson was in his first season as head coach of the Lakers, working for Buss’ father, Jerry, the longtime owner of the team, who passed away in January 2013.
“In basketball, family, love, relationships, nothing is more important to me than the Lakers. Jackson, 69, and Buss, 53, faced another strange situation in 2012, when Jackson was approached about returning to the Lakers as coach for a third stint, after the early-season firing of Mike Brown, but Buss’ brother, Jim, passed over the 13-time champion in favor of Mike D’Antoni. ” Jeanie Buss, who handles the business side of the Lakers, wrote in her memoir, “Laker Girl.” “Why did Jim pull Phil back into the mix if [Jim] wasn’t sincere about it? ” When Jackson joined the Knicks in March, the decision to join a different organization was made easy because Buss said “there [was] no role for him, for what he could contribute,” since Buss’ brother, also a co-owner, held the basketball operations role, which Jackson was most interested in.
They won three consecutive championships in 2000, 2001, and 2002.
Amid tension between O'Neal and Kobe Bryant, O'Neal was traded to the Miami Heat in 2004, and his fourth NBA championship followed in 2006.
He quickly became one of the best centers in the league, winning Rookie of the Year in 1992–93 and leading his team to the 1995 NBA Finals.
After four years with the Magic, O'Neal signed as a free agent with the Los Angeles Lakers.
We were digging around the ol' TMZ video vault when we found this clip of the couple leaving a wedding in Bev Hills back in the day ....
Midway through the 2007–2008 season he was traded to the Phoenix Suns.
After a season-and-a-half with the Suns, O'Neal was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2009–10 season.
“When I come here, it makes me feel very close to him,” she adds, taking a deep breath to compose herself. Jerry Buss — the colorful late owner of the Lakers, who hoisted himself from a poverty-stricken childhood in Wyoming to real-estate mogul and owner of the NBA’s West Coast gem. His daughter, who is now president and co-owner of the storied Los Angeles franchise (she and her five siblings split majority ownership), is in New York to represent her team at the NBA Board of Governors meetings.
And though there is no replacement for precious daddy-daughter time, another man is making the Big Apple a sweet destination for her.